At its more than 1,900 U.S. and Canadian locations, Applebee’s transforms each of its outposts into a neighborhood hangout via friendly service and unique atmospheric details. Inside, diners will find each restaurant decorated with relaxing warm tones and personal touches specific to the community, such as hometown sports memorabilia and in-person updates from the local weatherman.
Sourced from across the country, the restaurant's executive culinary team gathers chefs who have cooked at the highest levels, from upscale restaurants to major-league baseball teams. The result is a menu that reinvents traditional American favorites with modern flavors and ingredients. Chefs give many dishes a fun, kid-friendly flavor by turning entrees into finger food such as the quesadilla burger and wonton tacos, but they don’t throw knives and forks to the wind—staying true to classics such as slow-cooked ribs and sizzling cuts of steak.
In Spanish, “parrilla” means “grill,” an apt name for the Latin American–inspired eatery, which specializes in Mexican, Central American, and South American cuisine served “a la parrilla.” Grilled steak, gulf shrimp, and marinated pork shoulder flavor La Parrilla’s specialty tacos, quesadillas, and taquitos, but the restaurant doesn’t limit itself to omnivore-only fare. In fact, it has earned praise from many local and rabbit-run publications for its vegetarian options, such as the veggie empanadas, portobello quesadilla, and chili relleno stuffed with onions, cheese, and cilantro. Bartenders craft tropical cocktails including lime, strawberry, and peach margaritas from a selection of more than 10 tequilas, including a made-in-house chili-infused tequila.
In 2008, Culinary Institute of America alum Dan Janssen and four friends camped out to secure a spot in the Great Lenexa BBQ Battle. Dan immediately began training for the event, honing his recipes and asking friends and family to taste-test each smoky cut during weekend get-togethers. Great Lenexa, it turned out, was just the tip of the dry-rubbed iceberg. Over the next few years, Dan and his culinary crew refined their dishes, expanded their menu, and began raking in the ribbons?including five awards in the 2013 American Royal Barbeque Contest, taking 3rd place overall in sides and 5th place in beans.
Their barbecue is no longer a competition-only treat. The Rub Bar-B-Que & Catering makes it available to the Olathe area. Alongside classic pulled pork and beef sandwiches, Chef Dan showcases inventive dishes such as burritos filled with burnt ends, jalape?os, and pico de gallo. His menu also sports plenty for rib-enthusiasts, from 1/3 racks to full racks ideal for large groups or one very determined ant.
A fresh take on cooked-to-order burgers, Smashburger, winner of Sun Publication's Burger Wars, combines all the comforts of a well-stacked meal with the modest luxuries of expedient service and ample sit-down space. The menu boasts more smashes than two monster trucks playing tennis; Smashburgers ($4.99+ for a third-pound), grilled and crispy Smashchickens ($5.99+), Smashsalads ($4.99-6.99), and Smashsides such as rosemary and garlic-tossed Smashfries ($1.99–$2.99) fire up the hearts and bellies of all gracious guests. The Smashburger—100% Angus beef plus quality veggies and cheeses on a toasted artisan bun—takes center stage during most meals, and nonsecret specialties, such as the Häagen-Dazs shake ($3.99), keep mouths grounded, cool, and smiley. These two locations feature the Kansas City Smashburger, made with swiss cheese, grilled and haystack onions, sautéed mushrooms, and A.1. steak sauce ($5.99 for a third-pound).
Jim Sheridan's custard shop is packed with old-fashioned nostalgia. And it's not just the decor ? Sheridan's desire to create and sell custard sparked from his own childhood memories of adventuring to upstate New York to get his hands on the frozen treat. Now at Sheridan's Frozen Custard, Jim not only opts to incorporate creamy chocolate and vanilla flavors topped with everything from mangoes to graham crackers to a variety candies, but he views the real cherry on top as top-grade customer service. Caramel pretzel crunch concretes, fresh-baked strawberry shortcake Sundays, and cookie dough pies further satisfy sweet tooths. For those who prefer a straw to a spoon, the shop's shakes, malts, and smoothies are there for the sipping.
After years of perfecting those frozen treats Jim set out to conquer the world of burgers. To do so, he pulled from the same old-fashioned recipe book that inspired his sweet treats. The Olathe location's new food menu is filled with American favorites, from grilled-to-order steakburgers to hand-cut fries dusted with a kiss of salt. No matter the order, each meal is made with fresh, locally sourced ingredients, including grass-fed beef. Visitors can settle down at tables to enjoy their burgers and sandwiches or grab them to go at the convenient drive-thru.
Currently celebrating its 25th anniversary, Popeyes remains the flavorful lovechild of Cajun and Creole cooking, serving up a wide-ranging menu. Connoisseurs of crispiness can stick with Popeyes’ famous New Orleans–style fried chicken meals ($4.49–$6.89) surrounded with savory sides ($1.59–$3.79) such as warm flaky biscuits, red beans and rice, coleslaw, mashed potatoes, Cajun rice, and more. Otherwise, slather some livers and gizzards ($2.99–$5.49) onto a biscuit and eat it, temporarily imbuing you with the chicken’s mighty strength and ability to smell time. Avian-averse appetites can feast instead on a shrimp po’ boy combo ($6.19) with a pecan pie ($1.49) or Mississippi mud pie ($1.99) for dessert. And to keep your famished family from impeaching you and electing a new parent, quell multi-person appetites with bona fide family meals ($10.49–$30.99).